Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
We are a house of fruit eaters, and are always looking forward to the next fruit coming ripe throughout the growing season of the year. Berries are among our favorite. This time of the year we really start craving strawberries, for we know they will be the first of the yummy berries available. Strawberry Shortcake is a wonderful way to compliment this yummy berry. Traditional shortcake with biscuits and whipped cream, or a lighter version with angel food cake and whipped topping are both wonderful. What I am going to share today is a country version that my husbands family grew up with, made lovingly by their grandmother.
My husband’s grandmother was a wonderful country woman. She knew how to cook hearty country meals that left no one hungry. Grandma Rozetta was also amazing with desserts and made wonderful pies. She passed away 3 years ago, but her cooking methods still resonate with us today. Before I met Grandma Rozetta I had never even heard of a “boiling water crust”. I knew how to make a piecrust from my own mother, who had always used the method of cutting the shortening into the flour and adding small amounts of ice-cold water. I was very intrigued by this method and was happy that she would share her recipe and technique with me.
Measure the shortening and salt and place in a glass bowl and add the boiling water. Stir briskly to melt shortening and make an emulsion. The water and shortening should actually combine and become whipped looking (if the water does not completely combine with the shortening it will be OK). Add all of the flour at once and fold and turn into the shortening mixture until just combined. Let sit for a couple of minutes and turn onto well floured counter. Use a rolling pin and roll out as with any crust recipe. Use just enough flour to prevent sticking. For making rounds to use for shortcake, cut with a biscuit cutter and place on any cookie sheet. Dock all crusts by piercing several times with a fork. Place in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden.
To assemble these yummy shortcakes place a crust in a bowl and cover with a spoonful of sliced and sweetened strawberries. Layer 2 more crusts with berries on top of the first. Finally, pour evaporated milk over all (I like cream better, but evaporated milk is traditional). This would be excellent with raspberries as well. Enjoy your berries this spring no matter how you choose to eat them!